Same-sex marriage, popularly known as gay marriage, is a socially or legally reorganized wedlock between two persons of similar social gender or biological sex. Although the idea of same-sex marriage can be traced back to ancient times, in the United States, it not is legally reorganized at the national level. Some federal governments have, however, managed to legalize same-sex marriage; namely in Massachusetts, Vermont, the district of Columbia, Iowa and Connecticut. The issue of same-sex marriage is one that has attracted a lot of controversies world over. In many nations, it has attracted conflicts in such issues as social, moral, political, religious and civil rights.
The History of Same-sex Marriage
Same-sex marriage is believed to have originated from the ancient Chinese. A variety of same-marriages existed in, arraying from informal and formal unions, in the southern regions of china (Scarre, 1995, p. 151). Binding relationships between young females were not unusual and involved elaborate wedding-like ceremonies. Similar arrangements were also common among males.
From China, it is believed to have spread to other parts of the world. The fist documented history of same-sex marriage occurred in the early days of the Roman Empire. However, such unions were not legally reorganized in the Roman Empire and only involved male Romans and male slaves. Roman citizens were not allowed to get into such relationships. In 342 AD, the Roman Empire outlawed same-sex marriage, and those who ere found in such unions w ere executed.
Same-sex marriage is believed to have spread from the Roman Empire to other parts of Europe, and especially in Spain were the first same-sex church wedding occurred. The marriage, between Muño Vandilaz and Pedro Díaz, was conducted by a priest in a small Catholic Church chapel (Scarre, 1995, p. 152).
While same sex-marriage has existed for centuries, most unions involving same sex were no brought to the public domain, and people who were involved in such unions faced a lot of stigmatization. However, towards the turn of the 12st century, gay groups and same-sex families begun to advocate for their rights. As a consequence, many nations begun to legalize same-sex marriage. In 2001, Netherlands became the first nation to reorganize and legalize same-sex marriage. Other countries followed suite; by 2010, more than ten nations had formally reorganized same-sex marriage.
Same-sex Marriage in the United States
In the United States, same-sex marriages are only legally reorganized in five states (Massachusetts, Vermont, District of Columbia, Connecticut, Iowa, and New Hampshire). Couples in these states are entitled to receive benefits at the state level. Other states such as Maryland, New York, Rhode Island, and New Jersey reorganize same-sex marriages undertaken in the other jurisdiction, although they do not facilitate such marriages.
What is Same-sex Marriage all about?
Same-sex marriages form a small proportion of societies worldwide. Like heterosexuals, they occur in almost all straight societies. Because some societies in the United States consider same-sex marriage to be immoral, most of these unions do not get exposed to the public (Graff, 1996, p. 195). In such situations, same-sex couples tend to hide to hide form the public in an attempt to make their relationship secret. Same-sex relationships exist primarily among the youth, both male and female, and older couples are hard to come by. This is evident in come-together parties for same-sex couples such as the PFLAG convention or the Pride festival.
Same-sex couples exhibit distinguishable values in their daily lives. For example, they claim to be monogamous, faithful to their mates, and devoted to their partners. In states such as Connecticut where they are legally reorganized, they are committed to making their communities and neighborhoods safer places to live in, abide by and honor state and federal laws, and participate and value family life. Besides, they try to make worthful contributions to their communities such as volunteering in community work or serving schools.
Causes for Same-sex Marriages in the United States
Same-sex marriage poses a great threat to the institution of marriage. The unity in marriage means a society in the whole of life, including the acceptance and gift of a sexual self, and hence an openness of accepting and giving each other the gift of fatherhood and motherhood. However, sexual revolution throughout the world has completely changed the whole essence of marriage. For example, a wife who gives herself to a man in a church ceremony, but reserves the right to have sex or bear children with another man is not giving the whole of herself. Similarly, a man who promises to stay with a woman until another woman comes by is not making the marriage promise.
Because of the sexual revolution, divorce, contraception and gender identity has become very normal, creating obstacles to the vision of marriage. These obstacles are the root causes of same-sex marriage. To some extent, the modern-day capitalism has accelerated the idea of same-sex marriage (Gallagher M, 2006). For example, in the past, parents would depend on their children to take care of them at old age. Today, people prefer independent income sources such as the social security. The need for children to take care of their parents at old age has suddenly become obsolete, and so is the need for parents to bear children.
The importance of the family to the individual as well as to the larger society has changed. While the family still remains a wealth-generating institution, it has become less important than the market activities such as the production of wanted goods. As the family loses its role in society, the social protection of sexual morality becomes less important. People begin to indulge in a variety of sexual passions, such as same-sex sex, with fewer repercussions to self or others.
Arguments against Same-sex marriages in the United States
There are many reasons that have been given for opposing same-sex marriage in the United States, most of which are variations of well-established facts. While most of the arguments do not hold water, a number of them have basis.
Most opponents of same-sex marriage in the United State believe that marriage is meant for man and woman. Most people believe that marriage is an observance of religion and, therefore, same-sex individuals should not be allowed to form of union.
It is indisputable that children born form heterosexual parents benefit a lot from both parents. A good proportion of Americans believes that children have a right of being raised by two parents.
While scientific research has proven that children reared by same-sex parents are just as healthy as children brought up by heterosexual parents, most people believe that same-sex family set ups results into moral decay in children. In every aspect of the law, particularly laws relating to marriage, no mention has been made regarding same-sex marriages. This means that from a legal perspective same-sex marriage is not condoned.
From a legal perspective, the dictionary defines marriage as a sates of being in sexual union with an individual of the opposite sex as husband and wife. In legal terms, marriage is a binding relationship between two parties, of the opposite sex, which joins their belongings, lives and income. Marriage is reorganized by law, and dissolution of marriage can only happen by court process for divorce.
Arguments for Same-sex Marriages in the United States
Same-sex marriage activists believe that gay marriage should be legalized in the United States. In their defense, they believe that the denial to legalize same-sex marriage is the denial for the right to marry, which is an injustice.
To them, the argument that the family provides for children is baseless. Indeed, children born today do not enjoy the services of stay-at-home mothers. Most potential mothers are busy working and have no time to look after children. Besides, most of the marriages in the United States end up in divorce. Therefore, the idea that children can only be successfully brought up in a heterosexual family is, to them, unrealistic.
Same-sex Marriage and Civil Rights
In the United States, marriage is a civil right issue, and so is same-sex marriage. While heterosexual marriages are legally reorganized in the United States, same-sex marriages are not. Same-sex advocates believe that the illegality and non-recognition of same-sex marriage in the United States is an act of applying the law selectively and denial of the right to marry.
Same-sex marriage activist believe that, like heterosexual marriages, they have the right to enjoy the rights and privileges that unmarried persons have no access to such as immigration rights, healthcare, social security, survivors and veteran benefits, transfer of property and parenting.
Legally unmarried couples are not allowed to file joint tax returns, and as such are not eligible to take full advantage filling tax returns as a couple. In this regard, the illegality of same-sex marriages forces same-sex couples to pay more tax than heterosexual couples. Besides, same-sex couples get faced with a lot of tax consequences when they transfer personal property because they are not legally wedded.
However, same-sex critics believe that pro same-sex marriage activists are turning to civil right simply because it sounds better than other arguments. According to the church, the basic civil right that all Americans have is that they are all equal in the eyes of God. As for marriage, God created man and woman. The basis for marriage rests in a man and a woman.
Same-sex Marriage and the Church
According to the church, marriage was established in Eden by God to be a lifelong union between a woman and a man in a caring companionship. To the church, same-sex marriage is a sin that has perverted the idea of God about marriage and family.
Most priests and clergymen believe that same-sex marriage is a manifestation of brokenness and disorder in the human relation and inclination as a result of sin. While all human beings are subject to the fallen nature of humans, the church believes that through the grace of God people live in harmony with the world.
To the church, same-sex marriage is disgusting and unnatural. Same-sex marriage is equally unnatural. While the satisfaction and pleasure may be the same as heterosexual sex, it is definitely the way the human body was designed to have sexual intercourse. For example, most people argue that the fact that same-sex lesbian couples use dildos and vibrators to pleasure themselves is proof enough that sex was meant for a man and a woman. The same way, anal sex in gay couple is a proof that sex was designed for the opposite sexes.
Most churches believe that sex is meant for married couples to express their bond and intimacy and most importantly to reproduce (Eskridge, 1996, p. 96). Reproduction is necessary and essential because death is imminent and dead people have to be replaced for sustainability.
To the church, the institution of marriage is not constructed arbitrarily; rather, it is based on the complementary natural differenced between women and men- how they associate, support, complement, and encourage each other. To insist that people should keep the traditional and ethical understanding of marriage is not an attempt by the church to put marital restrictions. The church is simply acknowledging God's intention for marriage.
It is the church's opinion that sexual revolutions have had negative repercussion on the institution of marriage. Good examples are out-of-wedlock births and no-fault divorce. To the church, the institution of marriage is a keystone to human civilization and developments, and any issues pertaining to marriage must be conducted in radical and untested social experiments.
While opponents of same sex-marriage in the United States believe that marriage is religious institution, a lot of marriages take place government offices and courts without necessarily passing through the church. Same-sex marriage supporters believe that issues of marriage are societal issues and should be separated form the church.
While the United States is endowed with numerous types of marriage, most of them revolve around the union between a man and a woman. The idea of same-sex marriage is a new one and has attracted a good a mount of controversy. Every adult American has a right to marry and be married. However, as people exercise such right, caution should be taking not spoil the whole idea behind marriage. Marriage is important for the continuity of humanity, and any alterations to this institution will mean an alteration to humanity. While it is important for Americans to acknowledge and accept change, changes such as same-sex marriages should not be accepted or acknowledged in haste.
If same-sex marriage gets legalized in the United States, as a legal tantamount of heterosexual marriages, it will have many repercussions in numerous areas. For example, sex education in schools will be forced to teach both heterosexual and same-sex marriages as being equal. Parents who would insists that their children should not be taught same-sex marriage will be considered as illiberal bigots; the will be at odds with the law of matrimony and its resultant curriculum.
The institution of marriage should be looked at from all perspectives. Marriage provides husband and wife; mother and father and is a conduit by which children are born. The relationship between children and parents, the family unit, are all grounded in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman; not same sex relationships.